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The Relationship of Subordinate Perceptions of Leader-Member Exchange and Reciprocity Norms on the Quality of Integrative Trust: A Police Officer Census Open Access

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Although the literature suggests that leader-member exchanges, reciprocity norms, and integrative trust are interrelated dyadic social exchange processes, limited empirical research has been done in this area. This study presents a conceptual framework that integrates subordinate leader-member, reciprocity norms, and integrative trust instruments and examines the socio-psychological phenomenon in a census of all police officers in a large metropolitan police department.The focus was the subordinate-supervisor component of the exchange relationship to observe how reciprocity norms moderate subordinate trust behaviors. The study found evidence that the police officers divided trust risks into cognitive and affective components. It expected to find that departmental roles were related to police officer behaviors; however, only minor differences between patrol officers and the general police officer population were found.Among the key findings of this study were the multidirectional correlations between leader-member exchanges, reciprocity norms, and integrative trust and the interrelationships of the social exchanges, with each factor influencing the others. Reciprocity norms may have had additional importance because in this population, social exchange expectations prescribed cooperation, something participants learned while attending the police academy. Evidence of the importance of reciprocity norms indicates a potential relationship between a police department's organizational environment (policies, procedures, and management of staff) and police officer stress. Study evidence indicates that individuals may be maintaining a reciprocal equilibrium between leader-member and trust antecedents as they process the social exchange relationships.This study provides a framework for investigating leader-member exchanges, reciprocity norms, and integrative trust social exchanges and extends the literature by providing empirical support on how a subordinate's interrelationship with his or her supervisor is related to the quality of integrative trust and the contingent effect of reciprocity norms on their social exchange. The study provides police departments with insight into areas that may improve police operations and leadership development. Ongoing social exchange research should continue to incorporate this framework to determine if similar leader-member exchanges, reciprocity norms, and integrative trust social exchange relationships are produced in different organizations.

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